Sunday, July 31, 2016
Afghan police official confirms explosion near guesthouse for foreigners in Kabul; Taliban claims responsibility - AP ====== World | Sun Jul 31, 2016 8:35pm EDT Related: World Taliban claims truck bomb blast in Kabul left 6 of 6 right Afghan policemen keep watch near the site of a blast in Kabul, Afghanistan August 1, 2016. Reuters/Omar Sobhani left 1 of 6 right left 2 of 6 right left 3 of 6 right left 4 of 6 right left 5 of 6 right left 6 of 6 right left 1 of 6 right The Taliban claimed responsibility for a truck bomb attack on a military and logistics services compound in Kabul early on Monday after a powerful explosion was heard all around the city. A security services official said four heavily armed attackers were fighting on the site of the Northgate Hotel, a secure residential compound for foreign military and civilian organizations. There was no immediate word on casualties from Afghan authorities. A spokeswoman for the NATO-led Resolute Support mission, said they were assessing the situation but gave no details. A statement from the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which it said had caused dozens of casualties and added its fighters had entered the compound. The attack comes around a week after Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a demonstration by members of the mainly Shi'ite Hazara minority, killing at least 80 people. The Taliban, which often says it wants to avoid civilian casualties, said the compound was not near homes and that ordinary people were not harmed. (Reporting by James Mackenzie and Hamid Shalizi; Editing by Sandra Maler) ================== Afghan official: Blast shakes city, possible attack By LYNNE O'DONNELL Jul. 31, 2016 7:22 PM EDT 0 KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A strong explosion took place early Monday near a guesthouse for foreigners in Kabul, an Afghan police official said. It was not immediately clear what caused the blast, which shook much of the capital at 1:25 a.m. (2055 GMT) on Monday. It was followed by widespread power outages. Gul Agha Rohani, Kabul's deputy chief of police, said the explosion happened east of the city's international airport. Rohani named the Northgate Hotel, which houses international contractors, without further details. ============= By Khaama Press - Mon Aug 01 2016, 3:50 am 0 Comments 77 views Email Email Print Print Kabul explosions A massive explosion rocked Kabul city in the early hours of Monday morning with preliminary reports suggesting a Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) was detonated. The incident took place around around 1:30 am local time targeting a compound frequented by the foreigners. It is believed the compound is North Gate which provides accommodation to the foreign military and civilian organization in the country. There are also reports at least four militants launched gun attack following the massive blast that resulted into power outage in the city. The Taliban group claimed responsibility behind the attack and said a coordinated attack has been launched on a guesthouse of the foreigners in the city. There are no reports regarding the casualties as a result of the incident. Follow Khaama Press (KP) | Afghan News Agency on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook. Stay updated via RSS
World | Fri Jul 29, 2016 3:49am EDT Related: WORLD U.S. military prepares for biggest Okinawa land return since 1972 TOKYO | BY TIM KELLY Osprey military aircraft are seen at the U.S. Futenma airbase in Ginowan, on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, July 26, 2013. REUTERS/Nathan Layne/File Photo Osprey military aircraft are seen at the U.S. Futenma airbase in Ginowan, on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, July 26, 2013. REUTERS/NATHAN LAYNE/FILE PHOTO The United States military said on Friday it was preparing for the biggest land return in Okinawa since 1972, as it faces a surge in opposition to its presence following the arrest of one its civilian contractors for the murder of a local woman. Okinawa is the U.S. military's key base in Asia where it faces an increasingly assertive China. It hosts 30,000 military personnel on bases that cover a fifth of the island. "We are respectful of the feelings of Okinawans that our footprint must be reduced,” Lieutenant General Lawrence D. Nicholson, the U.S. commander on the island, said in a press release. Once new helipads are completed, the U.S. military will hand back 4,000 hectares (40 square kilometers) of land to the Japanese government, which is 17 percent of the area it controls. The tract is part of the U.S. Marine Corp jungle training camp known as Camp Gonsalves in Northern Okinawa. Okinawa was under U.S. occupation until 1972. The return of the land was agreed in 1996, but has been delayed by protesters blocking the construction of the helipads. The Japanese government recently resumed work at the site. Local resentment over the U.S. military presence surged after an American civilian working at a U.S. base, Kenneth Franklin, was arrested last month in connection with the murder of a local 20-year-old Japanese woman, Rina Shimabukuro. Nicholson announced a 30-day mourning period after the murder and temporarily banned marines from drinking off base. Washington and Tokyo agreed to limit legal protections and benefits to some U.S. civilians working for the military. The murder and a subsequent arrest of a U.S. Navy sailor for drunk driving spurred large scale demonstrations and calls, backed by Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, for Washington to move military personnel off the island. After the rape of a Japanese schoolgirl by three U.S. servicemen in 1996, the U.S. and Japanese governments agreed to relocate some troops outside Okinawa but said others would be moved to less populated parts of the island. (Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Michael Perry) More from Reuters Moscow airport workers plead guilty to causing Total CEO's death |29 Jul Dollar slides on U.S. GDP, Japan bonds fall on BOJ move |30 Jul U.S. Air Force says Boeing KC-46 tanker passes final test for initial production |19 Jul Ship hits wall of Panama Canal, renews design concerns |26 Jul Barclays shares jump as transatlantic refocus starts to pay off |29 Jul by Taboola Sponsored Links From The Web The Most Priceless Moments Ever Caught On Cam Flipopular How Cruise Ships Fill Their Unsold Cabins Cruise Deals Ace Man Wakes Up Much Richer After Shocking News Shock365 Here's One More Reason Not To Be A Woman In Saudi Arabia Vocativ 10 Warning Signs You May Have Diabetes Vitality 30 Cars That Will Last More Than 250,000 Miles BuzzDrives BREAKINGVIEWS Oracle's Executive Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison gestures while giving a demonstration during his keynote address at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco, California September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith Oracle-NetSuite deal, sweetest for Ellison? PHOTOS OF THE WEEK REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TRENDING ON REUTERS The dark side of Duterte's deadly but popular drugs war 1 Militants launch car bomb, gun attack on Somali police base, seven dead 2 Multiple victims reported from separate shootings in Austin, Texas: police 3 Clinton leads Trump by 6 points after Democratic confab: Reuters/Ipsos poll | Video4 Trump rebuts criticism by Army father at Democratic convention 5 Patents & Entrepreneurial Universities Measuring and evaluating academic innovation > Demonstrating Impact to Funders > Understanding your University's Rankings > Highly Cited Researchers: Mazen Omar Hasna
Posted by Thaqalain at 2:29 AM
Thursday, July 28, 2016
British woman's parents killed her for converting to Shia faith: husband By AFP Published: July 29, 2016 27 SHARES Share Tweet Email Samia Shahid. PHOTO: TELEGRAPH Samia Shahid. PHOTO: TELEGRAPH The husband of a British woman who was killed in Pakistan called for the UK and Pakistani governments to ensure his wife received justice Thursday, as he sought to keep the spotlight on so-called honour killings. Mukhtar Kazam presented a copy of the post-mortem report into his wife Samia Shahid’s death — seen by AFP — at an emotional press conference, which said the 28-year-old had marks on her neck, and suggested she had been strangled. Man alleges British wife killed for ‘honour’ in Pakistan Kazam has branded her death an “honour killing”, a near daily occurrence in Pakistan in which a relative is murdered by another for bringing the family “dishonour”. The practice was dragged into the international spotlight earlier this month with the killing of Qandeel Baloch, a polarising Pakistani social media star. Her brother has confessed to the murder, saying his sister’s behaviour had been “intolerable”. Kazam sought to keep international attention on “honour” killings when he spoke to media assembled in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, close to the capital Islamabad Thursday. “I request the British and Pakistani governments to conduct a fair trial,” he said. Police yet to decide Mufti Qavi’s role in Qandeel ‘honour killing’ Kazam and Shahid, both British-Pakistani dual citizens, had been married for two years and were living in Dubai, police told AFP, adding that it was Shahid’s second marriage. Kazam said his wife converted to Shia, his sect, before their wedding, which had irked her parents. In a complaint to police he has claimed she was murdered during a visit to her family in their village in Punjab province on July 20. Shahid’s father has denied the charges and said he did not want an investigation, claiming his daughter died of natural causes. The victims of “honour” killings are overwhelmingly women, with hundreds killed each year. They have long polarised Pakistan, with progressives calling for tough legislation against them and conservatives resisting. Punjab DIG to investigate British woman’s suspected ‘honour killing’ But the murder of Qandeel Baloch appears to have spurred politicians to take action. Last week the law minister announced that bills aimed at tackling loopholes that facilitate “honour” killings would soon be voted on by parliament. Rights groups and politicians have for years called for tougher laws to tackle perpetrators of violence against women in Pakistan. ======================================================= Punjab DIG to investigate British woman's suspected 'honour killing' By Reuters Published: July 28, 2016 LAHORE: The government on Thursday appointed a senior police official to investigate the death of a British woman whose husband alleges she was killed for marrying him against her parents’ wishes. The case has attracted attention because it comes days after the high-profile ‘honour killing’ of outspoken social media star Qandeel Baloch by her brother. Samia Shahid, 28, a beautician from Bradford who had gone to visit her family in Pakistan, died last week in the village of Pandori in northern Punjab, the political power base of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif appointed Deputy Inspector General Police Abubakar Khuda Bakhsh as the investigating officer. Man alleges British wife killed for ‘honour’ in Pakistan “We are treating this as a very high-profile case of high priority,” said police spokeswoman Nabeela Ghazanfar. Police had not made any arrests but had questioned Shahid’s father and were searching for her divorced first husband, Choudhry Shakeel, who was missing. Her second husband, Kazim Mukhtar, told media on Thursday that they had both received death threats from her family in the past. Her relatives have said she died of natural causes. Less than two weeks ago, 26-year-old Qandeel, who had divided opinion in the deeply conservative Muslim society by regularly posting risqué photos on social media, was strangled by her brother. Police yet to decide Mufti Qavi’s role in Qandeel ‘honour killing’ Police officer Aqeel Abbas said bruising found on Shahid’s neck could have occurred while her body was being moved or buried. “She was asthmatic and diabetic,” he said. “The forensic report will reveal the real cause of her death.” Shah’s husband Kazim Mukhtar said he believed she had been poisoned and then strangled. “I have received the post-mortem report that says there is a 19-cm long reddish bruise on her neck, which strengthens my doubts,” he told Reuters. Read more: honour killing , Samia Shahid
Business | Thu Jul 28, 2016 4:12am EDT Related: World, Aerospace & Defense Home flight simulator in MH370 captain's home plotted Indian Ocean course: JACC SYDNEY | By Matt Siegel Member of staff at satellite communications company Inmarsat point to a section of the screen showing the southern Indian Ocean to the west of Australia, at their headquarters in London, Britain, March 25, 2014. REUTERS/FILE/Andrew Winning/File Photo Member of staff at satellite communications company Inmarsat point to a section of the screen showing the southern Indian Ocean to the west of Australia, at their headquarters in London, Britain, March 25, 2014. Reuters/FILE/Andrew Winning/File Photo A home flight simulator owned by the pilot of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was used to plot a course to the southern Indian Ocean where the aircraft is believed to have gone missing, the Australian agency in charge of the search said on Thursday. But the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said the presence of the simulator data did not prove that the pilot had intentionally crashed the Boeing Co. (BA.N) 777> plane. "The MH370 captain’s flight simulator showed someone had plotted a course to the southern Indian Ocean," JACC said in an email to Reuters on Thursday. ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads "The simulator information shows only the possibility of planning. It does not reveal what happened on the night of the aircraft’s disappearance, nor where the aircraft is located," it said in an earlier statement. The jetliner, with 239 aboard, disappeared in March 2014 while on a flight from the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It has long been believed that the plane crashed into the ocean in the remote region plotted on the simulator. Almost A$180 million ($135.70 million) has been spent since then on an underwater search spanning 120,000 square kilometres (46,332 square miles) in the southern Indian Ocean. Several pieces of aircraft wreckage have washed up on beaches in Africa and been positively identified as coming from MH370 but they shed little light on the mystery. Since the crash there have been competing theories over whether one, both or no pilot was in control of the aircraft when it disappeared or whether it was hijacked. Adding to the mystery, investigators believe someone may have deliberately switched off the plane's transponder before diverting it thousands of kilometres (miles). Malaysian investigators said in 2015 there was nothing suspicious in the financial, medical or personal histories of pilots or crew. ($1 = 1.3264 Australian dollars) (Editing by Michael Perry)
Monday, July 25, 2016
World | Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:06pm EDT Related: WORLD After violent struggle for land, Thai campaigners face challenge to community farming BY ALISA TANG KLONG SAI PATTANA, Thailand (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - In Klong Sai Pattana, a rural community carved out of an illegal oil palm plantation by land rights campaigners, new arrivals are given a one-year trial run at being farmers. If the newcomers pass the year-long test in organic farming and sustainable development, they are permitted to stay. If not, they move on and their plot in Surat Thani province in southern Thailand is passed on to the next applicant in line. Klong Sai Pattana's leaders say the rules - honed over two decades of violent struggle for land and shaped by land rights movements from countries including Mexico and Brazil, to India and Indonesia - are essential to preserving harmony. They argue a government push to evict them - and to redistribute to outsiders the state-owned land that they fought for - could result in a failed community. "It's not as if we can live with 'random' people. What if bad elements come in? The people live here together through order and discipline," Prateep Rakangthong, a 61-year-old leader of Klong Sai Pattana, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "Villagers who can't accept and live with this order can't live with us," Rakangthong said. "The community would collapse - then the land would fall into the hands of people who have buying power, the investors," he said, after meeting government officials in early July. Newly-arrived families receive 1,600 square meters (17,222 square feet)to live on, 1.6 hectares (3.9 acres) of land to farm and earn a living, as well as access to a community farm and forest for cooking ingredients and pasture for cows who produce organic fertilizer. LONG STRUGGLE If investors wrest back control of the land, the sacrifice of campaigners who fought to reclaim it - four have been killed by unidentified gunmen since 2010 - will have been in vain, he said. Klong Sai Pattana is a 160-hectare plot owned by the Agricultural Land Reform Office (ALRO). In 2008, campaigners formed the Southern Peasants Federation of Thailand (SPFT) coalition, and occupied the land, with the consent of ALRO. They then helped ALRO to collect evidence to win a court case to evict the trespassing palm oil company. Having helped to oust the palm oil company, members of the SPFT say they deserve to stay in the community - under a title allowing collective management and use of state-owned land. However, the government says all Thais should have an opportunity to vie for it. "This area belongs to the Agricultural Land Reform Office. There are clear steps and procedures that must be followed to redistribute and share this land to those who have the right to live here," Jirachai Moontongroy, deputy permanent secretary of the prime minister's office, said during a recent visit. "Even though some people have been living in the area for many years, they are only one group of people who have the right ... it's up to the civil servants redistributing the land in the province to decide," Moontongroy said. EXCLUDED FROM LAND REDISTRIBUTION? The government has used various tactics to push the land activists out of Klong Sai Pattana. Despite having helped to oust the palm oil company, campaigners were accused of being dependents of the company who should also be evicted. On July 15 a court ruled in their favor, saying they were not the company's dependents. Now the Klong Sai Pattana activists face a new challenge: the ruling military junta issued an order this month allowing the ALRO to reclaim land that was occupied illegally. Pranom Somwong, a lawyer with rights group Protection International, said after the verdict on 15 July that the provincial ALRO office "will continue in their efforts to evict the Klong Sai Pattana community from their lands". Campaigners fear that if they are evicted and the land is redistributed, they will be excluded - as happened to others who fought for a nearby plot but were left out when that land was redistributed a decade ago. "These other people don't have to do anything. They just come in, serve themselves and feast," said Khuan Panmuang, a SPFT member living in the nearby community of Santi Pattana. According to SPFT members, 80 percent of the people who moved into that community have since sold their land. (Reporting by Alisa Tang @alisatang, Editing by Jo Griffin and Astrid Zweynert. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories)
Posted by Thaqalain at 7:00 PM
Mon Jul 25, 2016 | 6:09 PM EDT Nineteen feared dead after knife attack in Japan: media reports Police officers are seen in front of a facility for the disabled where at least 19 people were killed and as many as 20 wounded by a knife-wielding man, in Sagamihara, Kanagawa prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 26, 2016. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS Police officers are seen in front of a facility for the disabled where at least 19 people were killed and as many as 20 wounded by a knife-wielding man, in Sagamihara, Kanagawa prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 26, 2016. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via Reuters Nineteen feared dead after knife attack in Japan:...X (Reuters) - Nineteen people were feared dead and as many as 24 others wounded after an attack by a knife-wielding man at a facility for the disabled in Japan early on Tuesday, NHK reported. Police in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Tokyo have arrested a man in his 20s, Japanese media reported. They said staff called police at 2.30 a.m. local time with reports of a man armed with a knife on the grounds of the Tsukui Yamayuri Garden facility. Kyodo said the man had turned himself into a police station. ADVERTISEMENT Asahi Shimbun reported that the suspect was quoted by police as saying "I want to get rid of the disabled from this world." Fifteen people were confirmed dead while four were in a state of cardiac arrest, the reports said. (Reporting by Eric Beech in Washington; Editing by Sandra Maler and Grant McCool)
Posted by Thaqalain at 4:45 PM
Sunday, July 24, 2016
Huge fire breaks out near NATO base in Turkey (PHOTOS, VIDEO) Published time: 24 Jul, 2016 21:19 Edited time: 25 Jul, 2016 00:39 Get short URL © secildemirkol / Instagram A massive fire has erupted near a NATO base within the Buca district, Izmir, western Turkey. Authorities are investigating a possible act of sabotage, local media reports. The inferno started on Sunday evening on the border of the Sahintepe and Mevkiinde districts. The fire engulfed the grassy wooded area and is spreading closer to NATO’s military base because of strong winds. According to CNN Turk, the fire is threatening a number of populated areas, and has already impacted a home for the elderly and its adjacent garden. Despite intense efforts by NATO-stationed troops to stop the fire, the rapidly-spreading flames are moving closer to the arsenal, T24 News reports. The channel also reports that possible “sabotage” is suspected. The fire is threatening the Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) base at Şirinyer (Buca) in İzmir, Turkey. LANDCOM is charged with improving the effectiveness and reaction time of the alliance’s land forces that when needed could respond to an international crisis. Under the NATO nuclear weapons sharing program, Washington maintains its largest overseas nuclear arsenal in Turkey, consisting of up to 50 nuclear weapons, according to some estimates. The nukes however are stored at the base at Incirlik, and none are reportedly stored in Izmir. It took more than seven hours of battling the flames using helicopters and an airplane to contain the blaze. However, it has not yet been fully subdued, several local papers announced.
Carolyn Cummins July 25 2016 - 5:44AM Carolyn Cummins The receivers and managers to food and beverage group Keystone Group have kicked off the long-awaited sale of 17 well-known venues, including the Cargo Bar and the national Jamie's Italian chain, as they try to recoup more than $80 million to repay debt. The agents at CBRE Hotels Daniel Dragicevich, Sam Handy, Tim Grossmann and Leif Olson, are steering the campaign for the leaseholds of a variety of pubs and food and beverage outlets across the country. Food and beverage group Keystone are selling their waterfront icon Cargo Bar at Kings Street Wharf, Sydney. Food and beverage group Keystone are selling their waterfront icon Cargo Bar at Kings Street Wharf, Sydney. Food and beverage group Keystone are selling their waterfront icon Cargo Bar at Kings Street Wharf, Sydney. Where have all the good times gone? As the famous Cargo Bar goes up for sale, we look back at the unlucky Sydney venues which haven't survived. Keystone went under last month when it failed to renegotiate an $80 million loan with financiers, the private equity group KKR and Olympus Capital. The assets include Bungalow 8, Cargo Bar, Chophouse Perth, Chophouse Sydney, Gazebo, Kingsleys Brisbane, Kingsleys Woolloomooloo, Manly Wine, the Sugarmill Hotel, The Rook, the Winery and the national Jamie's Italian franchise. Morgan Kelly, from the receivers Ferrier Hodgson, said the sales process would be conducted as either a recapitalisation of the group, or a sale of one or more portfolios of assets. The Jamie's Italian will be sold as a group. The Jamie's Italian will be sold as a group. He said the expression of interest process has fielded interest from more than 120 parties. This interest has ranged from parties looking at a group-level investment through to those interested in groups of properties and individual properties. "A group-level investment offers the synergies of an existing head office function including marketing, payroll and purchasing, and represents a rare opportunity to acquire immediate size and scale to a portfolio," Mr Kelly said. National director at CBRE Daniel Dragicevich said the Keystone portfolio consisted of some of the most well-known and highly regarded venues and brands across the country. "We expect significant interest from all sectors of the hospitality market, both nationally and abroad," Mr Dragicevich said. The Colombian Hotel is being sold as the owner, the McHugh family, has relocated overseas The Colombian Hotel is being sold as the owner, the McHugh family, has relocated overseas Photo: supplied "Whilst the 17 venues will no doubt attract interest from portfolio buyers, it's expected that there will be intense competition from parties seeking to acquire segments of the portfolio and individual piecemeal businesses." Mr Kelly said he was conducting a focussed sale strategy, specifically targeting buyers with the balance sheet strength and operational depth to be able to manage these acquisitions. "The Jamie's Italian franchise restaurants would remain grouped together and sold as a nationally integrated restaurant brand," Mr Kelly said. Pubs are hot tickets for traditional operators, who see the demand rising for places that offer a wider range of food and beverages, not just beer and burgers. The lock-out laws in the City and fringe areas have also seen a change in the venue offerings from late-night drinkers to people coming in for a higher-quality meal in a more family-oriented atmosphere. One asset being sold is the The Colombian Hotel, a three-level former Westpac Bank building, on the corner of Oxford and Crown Streets in Darlinghurst, through Andrew Jolliffe and Joel Fisher of Ray White Hotels Australia in conjunction with Gerry Quinlan of Manenti Quinlan & Associates. The hotel has been operated for over a decade by the private McHugh family. Mr Jolliffe said the timing of the sale comes at a "transformative period" for the eastern suburbs and CBD commercial property market, which has seen new and improved hotel offerings attract a more sophisticated and discerning clientele to the area. This includes the revamp of a number of Oxford Street venues including Justin Hemmes' The Paddington, Kaine Bayfield's Light Brigade Hotel and the soon to re-open Paddington Inn, by Bruce Solomon and Matt Moran. Mr Jolliffe, the Asia Pacific director of Ray White, said the vendor was selling due to relocating overseas. There is now access to well-priced debt, and a demand for A-grade hotel properties not matched by supply, which is attracting buyers for pubs," Mr Jolliffe said. "We have seen a resurgence in commercial property values in Oxford Street after a period of suppression given development in other areas, however what is clear to astute investors is that the various infrastructure investment strategies being deployed at both state and federal level will have a significant impact on the value of commercial property in the Oxford Street precinct", Mr Quinlan said.
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Kabul blast: Afghanistan mourns protest bombing victims 13 minutes ago Candles lit during memorial for victims of suicide bomb blast in Kabul. 23 July 2016Image copyright EPA Image caption Candles were lit at memorials for the victims in Kabul overnight Afghanistan is observing a day of national mourning following the suicide bombing of a protest march in the capital, Kabul, that killed 80 people and wounded 230. So-called Islamic State (IS) has said it was behind Saturday's attack on members of the Shia Hazara minority. In a televised address, President Ashraf Ghani vowed to take revenge against those responsible. The UN mission in Afghanistan has described the attack as a "war crime". Tadamichi Yamamoto, head of the UN assistance mission, said the attackers had specifically targeted a large number of civilians. Advertisement What is behind the power line protest? Islamic State group: The full story On Saturday, the IS-linked Amaq news agency said two fighters had detonated explosive belts at a "gathering of Shia" in Deh Mazang square. Correspondents say the statement suggests an intention to foment sectarian strife. Thousands of members of the Hazara minority were protesting over a new power line, saying its route bypasses provinces where many of them live. The Taliban condemned the attack. People collect belongings of victims at scene of suicide bomb attack in Kabul. 23 July 2016Image copyright EPA Image caption The scattered belongings of victims were laid out at the scene for collection Man cries outside hospital in Kabul. 23 July 2016Image copyright Reuters Image caption Shocked relatives of victims gathered outside a hospital in Kabul IS has a presence in eastern Afghanistan but this is the first time it has admitted carrying out attacks in the capital. An Afghan intelligence source told the BBC that an IS commander named Abo Ali had sent three jihadists from the Achen district of Nangarhar province to carry out the Kabul attack. The interior ministry said only one attacker had successfully detonated his explosives. The belt of the second failed to explode and the third attacker was killed by security forces, the source said. Declaring Sunday a day of national mourning, Mr Ghani said: "I promise you I will take revenge against the culprits." He had earlier issued a statement saying that peaceful protest was the right of every citizen and that "opportunist terrorists" had infiltrated the crowd. The Hazaras - mostly Shia Muslims - live mainly in the centre of the country. They have long complained of discrimination. During Taliban rule in the late 1990s, many of them fled to Pakistan, Iran and Tajikistan. line Who are the Hazaras? ◾Of Mongolian and Central Asian descent ◾Mainly practise Shia Islam, in predominantly Sunni Afghanistan and Pakistan ◾Thought to be the third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan ◾Estimates suggest they make up 15-20% of Afghanistan's population, which is thought to be about 30 million ◾At least 600,000 Hazaras live in Pakistan, most of them in Quetta ◾Legend has it they are descendants of Genghis Khan and his soldiers, who invaded Afghanistan in the 13th Century ==================================== Sat Jul 23, 2016 | 3:54 PM EDT Islamic State claims responsibility for Kabul attack, 80 dead Afghan civil order policemen take position as Afghanistan's Hazara minority attend a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail Afghan civil order policemen take position as Afghanistan's Hazara minority attend a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail An Afghan man weeps outside a hospital after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail An Afghan man weeps outside a hospital after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail An Afghan woman weeps at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail An Afghan woman weeps at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail Men help an injured man outside a hospital after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail Men help an injured man outside a hospital after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail Demonstrators from Afghanistan's Hazara minority attend a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani Demonstrators from Afghanistan's Hazara minority attend a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. Reuters/Omar Sobhani Demonstrators from Afghanistan's Hazara minority attend a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani Demonstrators from Afghanistan's Hazara minority attend a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. Reuters/Omar Sobhani Afghan civil order policemen take position as Afghanistan's Hazara minority attend a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail Afghan civil order policemen take position as Afghanistan's Hazara minority attend a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail An Afghan man weeps outside a hospital after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail An Afghan man weeps outside a hospital after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan July 23, 2016. Reuters/Mohammad Ismail Islamic State claims responsibility for Kabul.By Mirwais Harooni | KABUL (Reuters) - Twin explosions tore through a demonstration by members of Afghanistan's mainly Shi'ite Hazara minority in Kabul on Saturday, killing at least 80 people and wounding more than 230 in a suicide attack claimed by Islamic State. Graphic television footage from the site of the attack showed many dead bodies lying on the bloodied road, close to where thousands of Hazara had been demonstrating against the route of a planned multi-million-dollar power line. "Two fighters from Islamic State detonated explosive belts at a gathering of Shi'ites in the city of Kabul in Afghanistan," said a brief statement on the group's Amaq news agency. If confirmed as the work of Islamic State, the attack, among the most deadly since the U.S.-led campaign to oust the Taliban in 2001, would represent a major escalation for a group hitherto largely confined to the eastern province of Nangarhar. The explicit reference to the Hazara's Shi'ite religious affiliation also marked a menacing departure for Afghanistan, where the bloody sectarian rivalry between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims typical of Iraq has been relatively rare, despite decades of war. Islamic State is an ultra hardline Sunni group. Officials in Afghanistan's main intelligence agency, the National Directorate for Security (NDS), said the attack was planned by an individual named Abu Ali, an Islamic State militant they said was based in Achin district in Nangarhar. They said three bombers were involved in the attack. The Persian-speaking Hazara, estimated to make up about 9 percent of the population, are Afghanistan's third-largest minority but they have long suffered discrimination, and thousands were killed during the period of Taliban rule. "We were holding a peaceful demonstration when I heard a bang and then everyone was escaping and yelling," said Sabira Jan, a protester who witnessed the attack and saw bloodied bodies strewn across the ground. "There was no one to help." The Taliban, a fierce, albeit Sunni enemy of Islamic State, denied any involvement and said in a statement posted on its website that the attack was "a plot to ignite civil war". The attack succeeded despite tight security which saw much of Kabul city center sealed off before the demonstration, with stacks of shipping containers and other obstacles and helicopters patrolling overhead. An Interior Ministry statement said 80 people had been killed and 231 wounded, with local hospitals straining to cope with those being brought in. The worst previous attack against the Hazara was in December 2011, when more than 55 people were killed in Kabul during the Shi'ite festival of Ashura. That attack was claimed by a Pakistani Sunni militant group called Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. OUTRAGE President Ashraf Ghani declared a national day of mourning and vowed revenge, while the top U.N. official in Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, condemned the attack as a war crime. The United States and Russia condemned the attack and renewed pledges of security assistance to Kabul. "We remain committed to work jointly with the Afghan security forces and countries in the region to confront the forces that threaten Afghanistan’s security, stability, and prosperity," the White House said in a statement. Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated his "readiness to continue the most active cooperation with ... Afghanistan in fighting all forms of terrorism", Russian news agencies quoted a Kremlin statement as saying. Saturday's demonstrators had been demanding that a 500 kV transmission line from Turkmenistan to Kabul be re-routed through two provinces with large Hazara populations, saying they feared being shut out of the project. The government said the project guaranteed ample power to the provinces, Bamyan and Wardak, which lie west of Kabul, and that altering the planned route would delay it by years and cost millions of dollars. But the resentment felt by many Hazaras runs deeper than simple questions of energy supply. In November, thousands of Hazara marched through Kabul to protest at government inaction after seven members of their community were beheaded by Islamist militants, and several protesters tried to force their way into the presidential palace. The protests by a group whose leaders include members of the national unity government have put pressure on Ghani, who has faced growing opposition from both inside and outside the government. They also risk exacerbating ethnic tensions with other groups and provinces the government says would have to wait up to three years for power if the route were changed. The transmission line, intended to provide secure electricity to 10 provinces, is part of the so-called TUTAP project backed by the Asia Development Bank, linking energy-rich states of Central Asia with Afghanistan and Pakistan. (Additional reporting by Hamid Shalizi, Omar Sobhani, Jibran Ahmad and Omar Fahmy in Cairo, Roberta Rampton in Washington and Dmitry Solovyov in Moscow; writing by James Mackenzie; editing by Hugh Lawson, Clelia Oziel and Mark Heinrich) ========================================
And he knows of Dr. Ali al-Rubaie, continuing his attack on the references of the Shiite community , where he said in one of Ngredath Friday morning " for many years and I am looking for a difference between Kafr Shiites and the Quraysh pagans and failed to find a difference in the door of polytheism and disbelief and excelled Quraish morality and lack of idols ." نفى الشيخ الدكتور علي الربيعي أن يكون أصدر فتوى باعتبار الزوجة طالقا من زوجها في حال خلعت كامل ملابسها أثناء المعاشرة الجنسية، ولكنه نفى ذلك وقال إنّه “يستنكر ما قامت به جريدة الإتحاد الإماراتية من إعادة نشر فتاوى مزيفة وسخيفة منسوبة له، رغم علمهم أنها من حساب مزيف وكلام تافه لا يصدقه عاقل”، مضيفا أنّها ” فتاوى مخجلة ومخزية وسخيفة تنشر باسمي من حسابات مزيفة…” Sheikh Ali al-Rubaie denied that he issued a fatwa as a wife divorced from her husband, if I took off full of her clothes during sexual intercourse , but he denied it and said he " deplores what was done by the newspaper Federation of UAE re- publish fatwas fake and silly attributed to him , even though they know it from one account and the words of faux fiddling not believe him sane , "adding that it" shameful and scandalous opinions and silly publish my name from the fake accounts ... " http://www.watanserb.com/2016/07/22/داعية-سعودي-آية-الله-الصرخي-كاهن-وثني-و/
Posted by Thaqalain at 1:01 AM
Friday, July 22, 2016
Real estate set to win biggest tax amnesty By Shahbaz RanaPublished: July 22, 2016 244 SHARES SHARE TWEET EMAIL PHOTO: memecenter PHOTO: memecenter PHOTO: memecenterThe need for the tax amnesty scheme arose after the government brought legal changes to determine fair market value of the properties by amending Income Tax Ordinance through Finance Act 2016. STOCK IMAGE ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday agreed, in principle, to offer the biggest ever tax amnesty scheme in the country’s history, which will whiten a whopping Rs7 trillion untaxed and black money currently stashed in the real estate sector Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and representatives of the real estate sector discussed the broader contours of the amnesty scheme, which will be implemented by either promulgating a presidential ordinance or introducing a bill in parliament, said a government official. It was the third round of talks in last four days. Taxing real estate: Govt forms body to address concerns of property dealers After the talks, Dar told media that the next meeting will be held on Wednesday in which real estate sector representatives and FBR officials will share their respective property valuation rates. “On Wednesday, the two parties will reach a consensus as things are going towards positive direction,” he said. Real estate sector representatives would bring their own property valuation rates of 18 main cities and FBR officials will share their rates. On the basis of both the rates, valuers will work out ‘consensus rates’. These determinations then will become the base for giving amnesty on past transactions and calculating taxes on future transactions, said the officials. Dar ducked three repeated questions on whether the government was going to give another tax amnesty scheme and left the venue. It will be the tenth amnesty scheme in the history of the country and the third of the PML-N government in last as many years. The government’s last tax amnesty scheme to traders miserably failed, as it could bring in only 9,090 traders in the net against the claim of over one million. The need for the tax amnesty scheme arose after the government brought legal changes to determine fair market value of the properties by amending Income Tax Ordinance through Finance Act 2016. However, a move that was initially aimed at capturing actual income gains from the property transactions would end up whitening about Rs7 trillion untaxed and black money currently parked in the real estate sector. Real estate sector, govt close to breakthrough on controversial tax decisions The ill-conceived changes in the tax law immediately created two problems, putting a question mark over trillions of rupees transactions carried out till June 30 and the fair market value of the future transactions, said a senior government official who attended the negotiations. A government official told The Express Tribune that it has been decided that the government would not ask the source of income of the past transactions from investors. Abdul Rauf Alam, President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), said that this issue was not only the issue of real estate and builders associations but it was the issue of every businessperson, industrialist, importer, exporter and bureaucrat. Since the beneficiaries of the schemes are from all segments of society, the scheme is expected to pass through all the legal obstacles, said FBR officials. “The big players in speculative business in real estate and capital markets are the beneficiaries of policies of appeasement,” said eminent tax expert Dr Ikramul Haq. He said these big players, in between politicians and corrupt bureaucrats, get their share courtesy a few leading tax experts who in connivance with some stalwart in FBR provide support to tax evaders. Haq added that the whitening of assets by compromise is a great fraud depriving the country of trillions of rupees in taxes. According to the broader contours of the likely amnesty scheme the government would settle the past property transactions by charging a fixed tax of 4% to 5% of the price differential between the deputy collector rates and the new rates, which will be determined by next week. Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2016. 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CarAdvice.com.au 8 Simple Investment Rules Buffett Used to Make His Fortune The Daily Reckoning Australia How 1 Man Made 100 Times His Money after Age 50 The Motley Fool Australia Don’t believe the hype about shipping containers, say architects Domain Reader Comments (10) ALL COMMENTSREADER'S RECOMMENDATIONS faraz 15 hours ago Reply How sad that the government and Mr Dar backed off so quickly. Even though the tax would effect people like me however it is a necessary tax in order for us move forward as a nation. Property should be taxed at market rates. There should be no concessions at all. I find it unacceptable that there will be an amnesty. Mr Dar should not back down. Ordinary voters are with him so what is he afraid of. If this law is not passed now in the manner which takes into account a tax rate on the fair market value of the property then I don’t see how the issue of a large population of rich in this country will ever pay taxes. It’s only salaried people who pay taxes and the rest just take a free ride. Recommend rasheed 14 hours ago Reply Everything is still under negotiation, we will know what really happened after minimum 3-4 days. Recommend kamran 14 hours ago Reply A big fraud to the people who regularly pay the taxes. after this so called amnesty given to the black money holder, no one will ever going to take FBR seriously. i am deeply sad if it is really going to happen. Recommend Ahmed 13 hours ago Reply All corrupted money, black money, drug money, gambling money, gambling money, kickbacks are now going to be provided blanket protection by the govt…….. Recommend Observer 13 hours ago Reply I think this article is totally biased. There is no other way than a one time amnesty to make this money come under the tax net. This black economy was created by the provincial government by not increasing dc rates for decades. A genuine investor could not declare his sale price aside from the dc rate because no buyer would buy it at a price higher than that. Now this has to be fixed by the government itself by providing an amnesty. Otherwise what would you do. All the people lamenting over this are the people who want property to be cheaper. That is not the answer, home financing options and mortgage is the answer, if the property dropped by 50% the people crying would still not be able to purchase property, That is a matter of fact. Recommend pokemon1088@hotmail,com 13 hours ago Reply This is really sad that the government has capitulated so fast. The scheme they proposed originally would have been really good for this country. Recommend Ahmed 13 hours ago Reply How can FBR determine the rates? Real estate is like stock market. The face value is always far lower than the market value. Market value is determined by the demand/supply model while the face value is the bookish value. Instead of blackmailing the population, the government should take up other vistas to generate revenue either by earning it or by saving it. For instance, we could have long gotten rid of the oil-based electricity production and moved towards Coal, Wind and water based generation. This would have saved hundreds of billions of dollars in 10 years against the import bill for oil. On the other hand, Government will have to opt for the China model to some extent. Government should plant industries and factories. For instance, Government could have developed 8-10 giant factories to produce UPS, Batteries and generators so that instead of wasting billions on importing these goods, we could purchase local supplies. Also I don’t understand why the government has allowed import of cars into the country. That is the biggest leakage of dollar reserves after oil. aaaaa, scratching my hair off !!! Recommend Umar 12 hours ago Reply It’s not true at all its not all black money, I live and work in Europe I have personally invested in property in Pakistan, and there are lot of Pakistanis who have invested in Pakistan. We were all really depressed with this new tax on property because we already pay 42 percent taxes here on our salaries and then send remittances back home. There are other ways to catch black or illegal money. How can government overnight change rules which they haven’t looked at in last 30 years and make people like me and my friends suffer who have worked so hard and invested back home due to love of our motherland even though we have options here to invest which are 100 percent safe. I think government need to take this tax back and put in place other mechanisms to catch illegal or black money. I am an active membe of pakistani community here and I have been to gatherings where everybody is talking about this in a bad way and saying if Godforbid this law got implemented they will pull back all investments and they will never invest in Pakistan because of overnight changes in policies and not considering the contribution of overseas pakistani. Property is the safest form of investment in Pakistan and we overseas Pakistanis strongly condemn this black law because it will convert our investment into half overnight. We hope government will back off from this law and find other means of increasing revenues and catching illegal money. Recommend Rant 8 hours ago Reply If the government had changed a decades rule overnight and caused the real estate market to crash then the foreign Pakistanis would never invest in their country again as their confidence would be shattered. Dr Iqramul Haq is unhappy as he was not chosen in the policy making. Recommend Naeem 6 hours ago Reply @Rant: A lame argument….all they are asking is to pay tax on actual buying cost and prove money trail. You weren’t complaining when prices were going up…….which book says that prices can go only north. First they evade taxes and now they are crying ….. Recommend Leave Your Reply Below Name (required) Email Location Web Your comments may appear in The Express Tribune paper. For this reason we encourage you to provide your city. The Express Tribune does not bear any responsibility for user comments. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ. =================== ISLAMABAD: The Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD) has rejected the amnesty scheme proposed for the construction industry, stating the association has never sought such a concession and will not need it as the business is mostly transparent. Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, ABAD Patron-in-chief Mohsin Sheikhani said the builders and developers were carrying out their business and were working hard for the betterment of country’s economy. Real estate set to win biggest tax amnesty “The federal government should support the construction industry instead of creating hurdles in the way of its growth,” he said. “We want to pay taxes according to the law.” Sheikhani pointed out that the government had raised the issue of black money at a time when the construction industry was booming. “The government should have addressed the matter earlier,” he said, cautioning any wrong step would trigger flight of capital from Pakistan, which would be detrimental to the economy. ABAD Senior Vice Chairman Arif Jeewa insisted that the construction industry had never asked for an amnesty. Instead, he said, ABAD had always promoted tax culture and it was the organisation that had given the idea of fixing the tax on the construction industry as there was not a proper mechanism. “We worked for almost four months with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to fix the tax system and we are grateful to the government that it has accepted our demand of a fixed tax and included it in the federal budget for 2016-17.” Real estate sector, govt close to breakthrough on controversial tax decisions He said more than Rs3,000 billion were parked in the country but due to the government’s wrong steps investors were hesitant to disclose the wealth. He demanded that the government give a viable way so that the parked money could be part of the national economy. He also asked the government to abolish the property transfer tax imposed on the tax filers and increase the tax up to 3% for the non-filers of tax returns. ABAD Expo-2016 Committee Convener Haris Ali Mithani briefed the media about the upcoming exhibition which would be held from August 12 to 14 in Karachi and said the show would create a new history of exhibitions in the country. Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2016. Like Business on Facebook, follow @TribuneBiz on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.
Posted by Thaqalain at 4:17 PM
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Proposed 36-storey residential tower on Frome St a soaring vision for city’s East End Sam Kelton, The Advertiser July 20, 2016 9:00pm Subscriber only Adelaide’s tallest home Adelaide’s tallest residential building proposed for CBD Adelaide CBD’s second-tallest building plan for Waymouth St THE east-end of the city will reach for the stars under an ambitious proposal for a 36-storey residential tower on Frome St that could become our city’s biggest skyscraper. The hotel and apartment complex, if approved could be the tallest building in Adelaide at an estimated 140m, nudging out Westpac House at 31 storeys and 132m. The Frome St development, which is currently before the Development Assessment Commission features outdoor entertaining areas, an outdoor pool more than 10 floors up and luxury penthouses at the top. Developer Kyren presented its design to Adelaide City Council this week in order to make Tavistock Lane — which runs adjacent to the development on the south side — a public lane. This would become an important but not integral piece to the development which would provide access and a drop off point to the hotel and link through to another 21 storey student accommodation building proposed by the same developer on Synagogue Place. Kyren did not return The Advertiser’s calls however the images clearly show the project occupying the space of the popular fringe venue The Rhino Room, which was put up for sale last year. It’s the latest in a number of proposed developments that could potentially change the scope of the city, including the estimated $175 million, 30 storey Park Hotel on the old State Bank building on Pirie St. Lord Mayor Martin Haese is excited by the project but says it’s important to recognise that it is in its early stages. “The Kyren project is early evidence that the tram extension announcement is instilling confidence in the city and I am confident that there will be more development in this area to follow,” he said. “Expanding the city tram network and enhancing the North Terrace streetscape has the potential to attract investment, encourage residential and commercial development and boost the visitor economy. “With the hospital moving to the West End of the city shortly, this development will help to offset any possible loss of activity and economic benefits to the East End by bringing a new population to this end of town, day and night.” Adelaide’s tallest buildings 1 Westpac House — 132m 2 Telstra House — 104m 3 Grenfell Centre — 103m 4 Australis House — 91m 5 Intercontinental Hotel — 91m 6 Vue on King William — 89m Originally published as Will this become Adelaide’s tallest building?
Posted by Thaqalain at 5:12 PM
Business | Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:33am EDT Related: DEALS Gulf Keystone shares spike and plunge after junk bond deal LONDON | BY ALASDAIR PAL AND DMITRY ZHDANNIKOV Gulf Keystone's stock spiked and fell by a third on Tuesday as retail investors flooded chatrooms trying to figure out how junk bond funds led by former JP Morgan and Lehman Brothers traders will help restructure the oil firm. Last week Gulf Keystone, crippled by low oil prices and non-payments from Iraqi Kurdistan, announced its bondholders had agreed to swap $500 million of debt for equity, all but wiping out some of the world's top funds as shareholders. Little-known distressed debt funds such as Sothic Capital, co-run by former JPM trader Gertjan Koomen, and CapeView Capital, co-run for former Lehman trader Theo Phanos, are set to receive significant stakes, according to sources close to the firm and bond holders. GLG Partners, part of hedge fund Man Group, and investment fund Taconic Capital are also likely to become large equity owners: debt-holders are set to get 85.5 percent of Gulf Keystone, while existing shareholders would hold just 4.5 percent unless they buy new shares in the $25 million open offer for 10 percent of the expanded equity. On Tuesday, Gulf Keystone' stock rose 32 percent before erasing most of the gains. At 6 pence a share it was still at its highest since April, off last week's all-time lows of 2.5 pence. Its all-time high was 465 pence, when the firm was worth over 3 billion pounds ($4 billion). Traded volumes spiked to an all-time high of 125 million shares, meaning over 10 percent of the firm changed hands on Tuesday driven mainly by retail investors. Gulf Keystone was the most discussed stock by far on the Interactive Investor and ADVFN message boards, two of the most popular chat tools for retail investors in Britain. Theories behind the stock jump ranged from an imminent hostile takeover on an improved debt outlook to a major liquidation of short positions by bond holders because they had managed to push the restructuring through last week and no longer needed short positions as hedges for convertible bonds. "We've had some clients buying into it," said Jonathan Roy, advisory investment manager at Charles Hanover Investments, adding the restructuring had diluted the share price, but had now alleviated funding concerns. "Their assets on the ground are attractive, in spite of the political instability, and there's often takeover talk surrounding Gulf Keystone," he added. He did not name a prospective bidder. MORE VOLATILITY Gulf Keystone's shareholders have yet to approve the debt swap and the drastic dilution. But the company has predicted insolvency if the deal doesn't go through. That gives the likes of Sothic and CapeView a strong chance of becoming the driving forces behind changes at Gulf Keystone. The two funds as well as GLG Partners and Taconic declined to comment. In 2015, Sothic and CapeView both participated in a similarly complicated debt refinancing after low gold prices sapped Russia-focused, London-listed miner Petropavlovsk. The firm has since become a battleground for shareholders including Russian oil-to-metals tycoon Viktor Vekselberg. Gulf Keystone has said it has had as many as 18 merger and acquisition approaches in the past but most buyers were spooked by heavy debt levels. "Hedge funds will usually be on the shareholder register for a shorter period of time compared to longer-term investors, which increases volatility," said Sam Wahab, oil and gas analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald. (Writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov; Additional reporting by Sudip Kar Gupta; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)
Monday, July 18, 2016
Jul 19 2016 at 1:02 PM Housing affordability has worsened in June quarter: HIA Housing affordability has worsened Housing affordability has worsened Wolter Peeters DEFINITION of 'Affordability Index' A measure of a population's ability to afford to purchase a particular item, such as a house, indexed to the population's income. An affordability index uses the value of 100 to represent the position of someone earning a population's median income, with values above 100 indicating that an item is less likely to be affordable and values below 100 indicating that an item is more affordable. BREAKING DOWN 'Affordability Index' An affordability index is most often associated with housing costs. Housing affordability indexes often compare the cost of purchasing a home in different lacations. Points above 100 indicate that a typical family will be less likely to qualify for a mortgage on a home in the area, while a value of 100 indicates that the typical family can just barely afford to live there. Read more: Affordability Index Definition | Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/affordability-index.asp#ixzz4Epa4fFqD Follow us: Investopedia on Facebook Read more: Affordability Index Definition | Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/affordability-index.asp#ixzz4EpZspohe Follow us: Investopedia on Facebook ========================= by Su-Lin Tan Housing affordability has slid backwards, worsening over the June quarter, the Housing Industry Association's Housing Affordability Index shows. Affordability worsened the most in Melbourne after its affordability index fell 7.4 per cent. Canberra dropped 5.7 per cent, and Sydney slid 1.6 per cent. Perth's affordability was the best amongst the capital cities, as housing prices in Perth continue to fall from the mining industry decline. "Home price growth moderated in the early part of the year and the HIA Housing Affordability Index showed an improvement in affordability during the March 2016 quarter. However, in the June quarter dwelling price growth returned and the index reverted to the level we saw at the end of 2015," HIA Economist, Geordan Murray said. "The geographic variation in affordability is most evident in the comparison between Melbourne and Perth. Over the last year, the median dwelling price in Perth has fallen by 4.7 per cent while Melbourne's has grown by 11.5 per cent. This has seen the affordability index for Perth increase by 6.2 per cent over the last year, while the index for Melbourne has fallen by 6.2 per cent." Nationally, affordability fell by 3.7 per cent during the June quarter and was 2.1 per cent less favourable than the same period a year earlier. The capital city housing affordability index fell by 4.3 per cent during the quarter, while regional affordability improved. The cooling of the housing market in Sydney and Melbourne, which started late last year, has not sustained. A further cut to the cash rate this year has buoyed housing demand, while uncertainty triggered by a delayed election and world events like Brexit has increased vendors reluctance to sell and reduced the volume of established housing stock for sale. Read more: http://www.afr.com/real-estate/residential/housing-affordability-has-worsened-in-june-quarter-hia-20160719-gq8rdh?&utm_source=social&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=nc&eid=socialn:twi-14omn0055-optim-nnn:nonpaid-27062014-social_traffic-all-organicpost-nnn-afr-o&campaign_code=nocode&promote_channel=social_twitter#ixzz4EpXd06A9 Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook
Mutual Funds Emerging Markets, Even in Turmoil, Have a Place in a Portfolio By TIM GRAYJULY 15, 2016 Severstal’s Cherepovets Steel Mill in the Vologda region of Russia. Low prices for commodities, especially oil, have sapped stock markets in places dependent on natural resources, like Russia, making investors nervous. Credit James Hill for The New York Times Over the last five years, investors in emerging-markets mutual funds have paid plenty and gotten little in return. Emerging-markets funds lost an annualized average of 3.19 percent over the last five years, Morningstar said. Yet they are far more expensive, on average, than actively managed domestic large-cap funds, which returned about 10 percent a year annualized for the same period. Expense ratios for actively managed emerging-market funds were 1.55 percent, compared with 1.15 percent for domestic large-caps. Investors have responded by fleeing emerging markets; money is churning out of the sector’s funds and E.T.F.s. Total net outflows hit a new high in 2015, when nearly $75 billion exited, according to EPFR Global in Cambridge, Mass. Through June this year, $7 billion more has been withdrawn. The exodus is understandable, given both the returns and the worrisome headlines streaming in from around the globe. Just last month, the British referendum to leave the European Union roiled markets worldwide. MSCI’s Emerging Markets Index fell as much as the British-focused FTSE 100 in the days just after the ballots were counted. The vote was an additional bedevilment for emerging markets already made skittish by slower growth in China — some commentators fret about a real estate bubble and banking crisis there — and a political crisis in Brazil. On top of that, low prices for commodities, especially oil, sapped stock markets in places dependent on natural resources, like Russia, South America and the Middle East. The turmoil is a turnabout from just a few years ago. Then the acronym “BRIC” — for Brazil, Russia, India and China — was bandied about in investment circles as shorthand for the rise of a brash new bunch of economic powers. Lately, BRIC has become a four-letter epithet. The reaction of emerging markets to the British vote has also underscored a new reality for investors: Emerging markets no longer provide the diversification benefit they once did, said Roger A. Aliaga-Díaz, senior economist with Vanguard’s Investment Strategy Group. “Correlations have increased since the 2000s between emerging markets and developed ones,” Mr. Aliaga-Díaz said. During the surge of the 2000s, one of the attractions of emerging markets was that they tended to zig when the developed world zagged. They could buffer the ups and downs of developed markets in a diversified portfolio. To a greater extent these days, developing and developed markets have tended to move together. Portfolio managers of emerging-markets funds say today’s worries, like yesterday’s euphoria, may be exaggerated. “In terms of history, the last couple of years isn’t remarkable,” said James F. Syme, senior fund manager of the Johcm Emerging Markets Opportunities fund. “Emerging markets have always been two steps forward and one step back. In the ’80s, we had the Latin American debt crisis, and in the ’90s, the Asian tigers and then the Asia crisis. All asset classes tend to be characterized by boom and busts. Emerging markets is a riskier asset class, so the booms and busts are bigger.” Today’s economic challenges are real but manageable, said Joanne C. Irvine, a portfolio manager for the Aberdeen Emerging Markets fund. “Given the significant underperformance of emerging markets in recent years, you’d think most of the countries were in crisis, but the economies and corporate balance sheets are mostly in reasonably good shape,” she said. “Global growth has been very weak, and that’s led to weak emerging-market exports.” Even so, many emerging countries remain healthier than developed ones, with higher growth rates and lower debt levels, she said. And many of them have young, growing populations striving to join the world’s middle class. China’s economy has been the engine of the developing world, but after a two-decade surge, growth there is slowing as the country shifts from an export-led economy to a consumer-driven one like the United States, said Arjun Jayaraman, co-portfolio manager of the Causeway Emerging Markets fund. “They’re going from a growth rate of high single digits to, realistically, 3 to 4 percent a year,” he said. The Chinese government’s official growth target is 6.5 to 7 percent this year. Photo Workers at the Cherepovets Steel Mill in the control room of the Severyanka blast furnace, once the largest in the world. Credit James Hill for The New York Times That slowdown has caused worldwide commodity prices to sag. When China was investing heavily in infrastructure and industrialization, commodity producers thrived; now they’re pinched. A strong dollar has meted out additional pain. Many companies and countries in the developing world borrow money in dollars, so a stronger dollar increases the real cost of their debts, said David Semple, portfolio manager of the VanEck Emerging Markets Equity. A stronger dollar also hurts the returns of American investors because the returns of emerging-market companies, denominated in weaker local currencies, must be translated into dollars. “For emerging markets, the precondition for them doing better is for the dollar to not accelerate strongly,” he said. The emerging-markets sector is split by the debate over active management versus indexing just as every sector is. Much of the discussion comes down to costs: It’s usually cheaper to run an index fund than an active one, and costs eat away at investors’ bottom line. The average emerging-markets index fund carries an expense ratio of 0.52 percent, compared with the 1.55 percent charge levied by the average actively managed emerging-markets fund, according to Morningstar. Some of the better-known index funds levy even lower fees. The Vanguard Emerging Markets stock index fund charges 0.33 percent for its investor shares, while BlackRock’s iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets E.T.F. charges 0.16 percent. For the most part, the higher costs for active management haven’t translated into better performance, said Todd L. Rosenbluth, director of E.T.F. and mutual fund research for S&P Global Market Intelligence. Based on trailing returns, two-thirds of emerging markets funds underperformed S.&P.’s emerging-markets index over the one, three and five years ending in December 2015, he said. “On the positive side, that means one out of three did outperform,” he said. “There’s some value to active management, but the cheaper your actively managed fund can be, the better,” he said. Costs aside, Patricia Oey, a senior analyst for Morningstar, said that active funds aren’t locked into the country allocations required by index funds. Both the Vanguard and iShares funds, for example, allocate about a quarter of their assets to Chinese stocks. That amount could grow in coming years, because China’s domestic A-share market is opening to foreign investors, she said. Given the heft of China’s economy — the world’s second-largest, after the United States — index providers might opt to include more Chinese companies. A way in which some emerging-markets managers avoid overexposure to any particular country is by also investing in developed-world multinationals that sell into the emerging world. Sammy Simnegar, portfolio manager of the Fidelity Emerging Markets Fund, takes that approach. As of the end of April, about 20 percent of his fund’s assets were developed-world stocks. He said that too many of the biggest, best-known companies in emerging markets, especially in China, are state-owned enterprises, which he shies away from. “In my view, those aren’t run for shareholders — they’re run for the state,” he said. “I’d rather invest in an A. O. Smith, a U.S. company that makes water heaters. About a third of their revenue is from emerging markets, particularly India and China.” Just as portfolio managers damp risk by diversifying, individual investors can do the same with their personal portfolios. Ms. Oey of Morningstar said holding 10 percent of a stock portfolio, mirroring the proportion of emerging markets in the world’s stock market capitalization, would make sense for a long-term investor. A person with 60 percent of her money in stocks would then put 6 percent in emerging markets. Campbell R. Harvey, a finance professor at Duke University, said he saw 10 percent as a floor, not a ceiling. In a 2014 paper, professors Harvey and Geert Bekaert of Columbia University noted that emerging markets account for about 30 percent of world G.D.P. Thus, they wrote, “Strategic allocations somewhere in between market capitalization weights and G.D.P. weights are easy to defend.” Whatever else investors do, they should guard against the tendency to dump their holdings based on recent discouraging news or weak returns, Professor Harvey said. “The biggest mistake retail investors make is selling stocks if they go down and buying the ones that have gone up,” he said. “This holds true for asset classes, too,” he added. “Just because emerging-markets equity has had low returns recently does not mean you should sell. One-third of world G.D.P. is being driven by emerging-market economies, and it makes sense that a globally diversified portfolio should have exposure to them.” A version of this article appears in print on July 17, 2016, on page BU16 of the New York edition with the headline: An Exit From Emerging Markets May Be Hasty. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe
Friday, July 15, 2016